Monday, May 25, 2009
Terminator Salvation despite a horrible title, returns the Terminator franchise back in its rightful place as a great action series.
Audiences were finally given what they really wanted; the movie finally focuses on the post "Judgement Day" story. In a way it's been a 3 movie long tease. All we got before this were brief glimpses of the post apocalyptic future and the war of man vs. machine.
Some fans were worried that director McG would do the franchise a disservice and make the movie into some kind of Charlie's Angels meets Terminator disaster. Thankfully this did not come to pass. Salvation was gritty and dirty and thankfully absent was the rapid-fire editing (a technique I can't stand) that has lately become omnipresent in recent action movies.
Some people might be upset that after all the controversy, (his onset freak-out and his arrest for assaulting his mom and sister) Christian Bale, the marque name draw for the movie, isn't really the focus of the film. His character, John Connor is still the machine's public enemy number one, but Bale's one note , angry soldier characterization isn't the movie's central story.
Instead, it is Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington), the death-row inmate turned sleeper-agent -Terminator who is the true protagonist of the film. This is the story of his redemption; Skynet may have created him as the ultimate double agent, but the whole point of the movie is that though he was programmed to be evil and though he was a "bad guy" in his first life; Skynet failed to get rid of whatever it is that makes us human. Connor at the end of the movie calls it the human heart. I think the heart just pumps blood, but I can accept it as a metaphor for the human soul.
Now for all the things that don't make sense, and there were quite a few:
In the first movie Skynet sends a Terminator back in time to kill Sarah Connor because the machines have lost the war and their last hope is make it so John Connor, the leader of the human resistance never existed. Second movie, same thing only John is now a young teen. Third movie, same thing only John is now an older teen or a 20 something.
However, in this movie Connor is just a soldier. He still has his radio broadcasts where he speaks in corny platitudes like "if you can hear this you are the resistance." And he is regarded by some human survivors as a prophet and by others as a nut-case. He's somewhat mid-level in the food chain of military command, high enough to be granted an audience with the big-wigs on the super secret submarine, but they make it clear to him that he is not in charge.
So my question is- why is Connor Number one on Skynet's hit list already? And why is Kyle Reese (the teen who will be John's father) also a target? Skynet has no knowledge of the past/future at this point and should be unaware of their importance. And yet Skynet says something like, "we've been trying to kill John Connor for a long time"
Point two- Why does the Resistance's central command allow Connor free reign with his radio system? Any real military would have taken over and made Connor a powerless figurehead if his name had cache they needed. But instead they give him complete control and they are surprised when he usurps their power by countering their orders over the airwaves.
-The only other comments I have are:
Connor seems awfully dumb pouring over his mom's recordings for hidden truths. All she says is that you have to send Kyle back in time if you want to exist. It isn't that complicated and doesn't need to be examined like a sacred text.
It made me unbelievably happy to see the Governator in a "Cameo" appearance. Even if it was, as I found out later, just his face CGIed onto some other guy's body. It wouldn't be the Terminator without him.